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A Christmas Story (or Two)
The Friday Five for Nov. 30

In Tandem presents "A Cudahy Caroler's Christmas"

#5: Prometheus Trio at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.

Why? Because we do need a little Christmas, right this very minute. But we also maybe need a little Haydn, or perhaps a little Faure, as well? The local Prometheans—Scott Tisdale, Stephanie Jacob and Timothy Klabunde—are well equipped for the task. This concert opens with a couple of Haydn trios, and concludes with the lovely Piano Quartet in G minor by Gabriele Faure. In between, the Prometheus features one of its signature rarities, the mid-20th century Piano Quartet by Bohuslav Martinu.

#4: Robin Pleuer at Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.

Why? Because Pleuer’s holiday concerts at the Conservatory have become a popular holiday tradition (get on the waiting list, because these two are sold out). And no wonder. Pleuer is a talented singer of songs from torchy to spirited. And she always brings a sleigh-full of friends to share in the spirit. This year, she’s backed by the talented accordion player Stas Venglevski, sax star Juli Wood, guitarist Peter Roller, and Connie Grauer and Kim Zick of Mrs. Fun. Expect some carols, some Edith Piaf, and something unexpected as well.

#3: Ex Fabula Spectacular at Turner Hall.

Why? Because Tiny Tim’s triumph and George Bailey’s tribulations can only go so far in filling your quotient of holiday stories. So go find some more! The local storytelling collective Ex Fabula kindly requests your presence at an evening that might yield some new holiday traditions. The group has picked the best stories from its gaggle of volunteer staff members, and will present them in a single star-studded evening. The theme—there is always a theme—is “Game On.” And we’re assuming this isn’t a question about what time the Packers play. The beer will flow and anecdotes will resound. And the folks here will certainly one-up your aunt Sophie’s oft-repeated story about the year the Christmas tree fell over.

#2: A Cudahy Caroler Christmas at In Tandem Theatre.

Why? Because you’re a Milwaukeean. You pronounce it cud-ah-HEE and not CUD-ah-HAY. You still like to go “down by Grand Avenue” and you believe tap beer should be 50 cents for a 5 ounce glass. In Tandem’s much loved holiday tradition is a gentle and loving send up of Milwaukee ways, particularly those in the deep south (or at least south of Menomonee Valley). It’s bawdy and irreverent, as befits an evening at a corner pub. In the end, you’ll be cheering for Stasch Zielinski and asking for an encore of that newly minted classic, “O, Bowling Night.”

#1: Youngblood Theatre’s Cartoon at The Milwaukee Fortress, 100A E. Pleasant St.

Why? Because you loved the puppet-sex in Avenue Q, and can’t wait for more transgressions-in-taste from cuddly creatures that once seemed family-friendly. Steve Yockey’s play begins where Toy Story 3 and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? left off, and branches out into anime and commedia del’arte to tell its story of an idealist named Trouble who fights back against an oppressive dictator who wields a very large hammer. Youngblood’s Michael Cotey directs a large and game-for-anything cast. 

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